Question: Did Hyrum Smith, one of the Eight Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, ever deny having seen the plates?

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Question: Did Hyrum Smith, one of the Eight Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, ever deny having seen the plates?

Hyrum Smith "felt a determination to die, rather than deny the things which my eyes had seen"

Multiple writers recalled Hyrum's testimony:

  • [W]ee wass talking about the Book of Mormon which he is one of the witnesses he said he had but too hands and too eyes he said he had seen the plates with his eyes and handled them with his hands.[1]
  • "[Mary Fielding Smith] bears testimony that her husband [Hyrum] has seen and handled the plates, &c."[2]
  • Another writer heard Hyrum "declare, in this city in public, that what is recorded about the plates, &c. &c. is God's solemn truth."[3]
  • "When I was but ten years of age, I heard the testimony of the Patriarch Hyrum Smith, one of the eight witnesses, to the divinity of the Book of Mormon and teh appearance of the plates from which it was translated."[4]

After being in Liberty Jail, Hyrum wrote:

I felt a determination to die, rather than deny the things which my eyes had seen, which my hands had handled, and which I had borne testimony to, wherever my lot had been cast (emphasis added).[5]

Hyrum Smith's character

Richard Anderson wrote:

[Hyrum] was respected by his neighbors, for he served as school trustee in his neigborhood in 1828. Elected to this office in the local school district, he with two other trustees managed school affairs and funds, including hiring of teachers. Hyrum's non-Mormon reputation became clearer after the work of Masonic scholar Mervin Hogan, who published the Navuoo Lodge minutes indicating that Hyrum Smith had been a Mason in good standing in the Mount Moriah lodge No. 112, which met in Palmyra, New York. Further research shows that Hyrum indeed appears on the Palmyra report covering the period to June 4, 1828, just a year before he became a Book of Mormon witness. He is one of fifty-nine members, and is not named as newly initiated that year. This means taht normal Masonic procedures of unanimity had admitted him on grounds that his character would honor that organization—a judgment made by the large Palmyra group, among whom were young printer Pomeroy Tucker and respected physician Alexander McIntire.[6]



Notes

  1. Letter to John Kempton, 26 August 1838, Family History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, microfilm no. 840025.
  2. Joseph Fielding, "Letter to Parley P. Pratt," Millennial Star 4 (August 1841), 52.
  3. "Mr. J. B. Newhall's Lecture," signed by "A Hearer," Salem Advertiser and Argus, 12 April 1843, some also in Times and Seasons 4 (15 June 1843): 234–235;
  4. Salt Lake Stake Historical Record, 25 January 1888; cited in Richard Lloyd Anderson, Investigating the Book of Mormon Witnesses (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1981), 146. ISBN 0877478465.
  5. Hyrum Smith, "To the Saints scattered abroad," Times and Seasons 1 (November 1839), 20, 23. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.)
  6. Richard Lloyd Anderson, Investigating the Book of Mormon Witnesses (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1981), 145. ISBN 0877478465.